Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Symmetry

This week, Patti Moed asks us to think about symmetry. She writes, “Architects in ancient lands, like Greece, Rome, China, and Egypt, experimented with form and balance. They discovered that the human eye likes patterns and architectural features that are symmetrical. That’s why a row of pillars or arches is pleasing to the eye.” You can read her entire challenge post here.

In my opening photo, the USAF Thunderbirds spend much of their show depending upon presenting a symmetrical view of their precision flying.

Another example features a classic diamond formation. Whether it’s the Thunderbirds, the Navy Blue Angels, or the Canadian team the Snowbirds, their precision is pleasing to the viewer’s eye.

Nature provides examples of symmetry, but they are harder to find and the precision of the symmetric shapes is not usually quite so accurate as man-made symmetry. An example is a couple of rock formations at the peninsula at Cabo San Lucas. This view of Lover’s Beach is often shown from the Gulf of California side looking toward the Pacific Ocean. This view, however, features a look from the ocean toward the gulf. There is a cruise ship anchored in the harbor and the mountains of northern Mexico are visible in the gap.

Sometimes the symmetry is accidental and a photographer happens to notice it. In Bisbee, a work crew is painting lines in a parking area. I saw the symmetry they created and recorded the event.

Another natural example of symmetry can be found in Monument Valley in the Navajo Nation. The two rock formations are known as the Mittens, two buttes that resemble mittened hands, left and right and nearly perfect in their symmetry.

At the Hall of Flame, Phoenix’s National Firefighter’s Museum, I happened to see two lanterns mounted on a piece of fire equipment and noted the symmetry of the image as I captured it.

My final example is a coincidental natural symmetry I happened to find when I captured two pelicans at La Jolla Cove grooming their feathers.

Thanks to Patti and the group of dedicated photographers who keep us looking for interesting challenges to share. As always, I remind the viewer that selecting an image could provide a more detailed view, depending upon your browser.

John Steiner




  1. These are wonderful John – Yes the thunderbirds are awesome but so are you for such clear captures as they zoom by at blazing speeds! Loved all of your choices this week. Clearly you have an eye for symmetry whenever and wherever it occurs.

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